Habits can come in many different forms. There are good habits, like brushing your teeth everyday, or giving your family good morning hugs. Then, there are the bad habits, like gambling at a casino, or driving too fast. In times like these it is very easy to either develop a bad habit, or enhance the ones you may already possess. We are all guilty of having a bad habit or habits. What is it that makes these behaviors different from others? An addiction or a habit can have a grasp on a person, or even a group. Sadly, it is usually something we really like or enjoy that can become a problem. The difference between these and other, more controlled behaviors is addiction. When we repeat a behavior over and over, especially that of something that changes the way we feel, it can become an addiction. Not always is it something that makes us feel good, as there are people who get addicted to bad feelings, or sad feelings, or fear. Physical addiction and psychological addiction are also different things. Basically if you are physically addicted to something, your body has developed a tolerance to it, and now needs to have that thing regularly to feel normal. An example is coffee. If your body becomes tolerant to the caffeine, it will develop a need for a certain amount of it daily. With out it, you can get a headache or become irritable, or some other unfavorable reaction. A psychological addiction is when your mind becomes accustomed to a thought pattern or emotional stimulus, like trauma. An example of that would be like when war veterans hears thunder, and it makes them think of bombs. That example is more of a habit than addiction, but wanting to shoot a gun after hearing an explosion could be considered an addiction.
Whatever the type of addiction, it usually takes the power of the mind to change it. I am going to be focusing on physical addiction and bad physical habits mainly. The fact that some things I will mention can fall in the category of psychological addiction also, just proves that they are related. You usually can't have a physical addiction without a psychological contribution. In other words, a person will normally have a physical habit with a psychological origin. These are both very broad topics, and I will only touch on some of the information.
Today we are thrust into a different way of living our lives. The old routine of waking up, and getting into the hustle and bustle of the rat race we face daily has been turned upside down. We are now having to fill our days with activity that is limited to what can be done in the confines of our dwellings. Where this should be a time to enjoy togetherness with our closest family members, we are finding it hard to occupy ourselves efficiently. How many times in your life have you said,"I wish I had time to do things around the house?" Here we are with all of the time we need, but some will choose to waste it. This is a time where we should be careful and conscious of the possibilities of our behavior. It is very easy to say, "eh, I can't go anywhere or do anything, so I am just going to drink." Many people are joking about how this stay-at-home situation is going to create a bunch of drunks and divorces, and there may be truth to that. Be aware that developing an addiction is easy to do when you are replacing an unpleasant situation with something that makes you "feel good." Most times alcohol or drugs even, are used to "avoid," or "forget." When this is done repetitively, it can become a mindset, but more so, can become a physical addiction.
Sometimes we only see what we want to see. You hear that a lot, but what does it mean exactly? It means that we only think of things as being bad for you if they are in an unhealthy category or they cause harm. Even things that are fun and entertaining can be bad for you. The example I give is video games. Yes they are a lot of fun for most people, but they are also harmful. Modern day gaming consoles are so elaborate and advanced that you can do almost anything on them. You can literally live your life in virtual reality if you wanted to. Sadly as the games have become more advanced, so has the addiction to them. Kids will literally spend all day and night playing. What about physical activity? Mix the gaming with the vast amount of processed, unhealthy food, and you have quite a volatile cocktail of bad habits. The practicum of life has been practically eliminated, and kids no longer learn from experience. Now they are learning from theory, and gathered information rather than practice. I will talk more about the damage that games and computers are causing our younger generations another day. That is a very important topic that requires it's own post.
One of the biggest addictions in the world is food. I wish that I was referring to healthy foods, but in reality it is the fast, processed, chemically enhanced foods I speak of. We have gone from being 3 meal a day, sit down, sourced from the garden families, to out of the bag, in the biggest cup, on the go individuals. Seldom do we stop and think of the ingredients that make up the things we call sustenance. Rarely if ever do we know the source of such things either. I can assure you that if we all were given full disclosure of the foods we buy, we would not consume a majority of what we do today. The fact that there are hidden ingredients that are allowed in our food makes it even harder to know what we are eating exactly.
Some companies have even figured out ways to make their products addictive. I personally do not eat at fast food restaurants much at all, but the last time I did, I had a hankering for the same thing for weeks after that. How is that possible? Well it is chemicals, and all fast food has them. We are tricked into wanting the fast foods that these chain franchises make because they add things make your body addicted. Plus, there are people who use food when they are emotional. Eating raises their spirits, but so they eat to forget or to soothe. There are studies that show how the body can have problems keeping mood up, when it is addicted to the chemicals in food, and doesn't get any. So food addiction is probably a bigger problem than any other vice.
All of these things, and more that we use to not be bored, to pass the time, or to satisfy us emotionally and physically, are at risk of become addictions. As we navigate this pandemic we are facing, we must remind ourselves of the dangers of becoming addicted to something. Some already are, and will get worse before life gets back to some form of normalcy. Reminding our loved ones of these risks is not a bad idea. While we are trying to occupy our time at home, we must remember to protect ourselves from harmful things. We can't go out to eat, but we can order food, which can become a frequent thing. We can't go to the bar or club, but we can stock up on booze that is there all the time. We can't go out to do fun activities, but we can sit and play games or watch TV. All of these things are fine in small amounts, but done too much will lead to a habit forming or getting worse. Be aware of all of these ruts we can allow ourselves to fall into because "we ain't got nothin' better to do." This is perhaps a great time to evaluate your life, your hobbies, or the time you now have for family, and change it up. We could all probably use some form of "redirection" when it comes to life, and we have been given the time to do that. Protect yourself, and those you love from ending up with an addiction. God bless you all.